SDSU’s New $310 Million Football Stadium Becomes Death Trap As Poor Design Causes Medical Emergencies

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San Diego State football’s season-opener was an absolute nightmare. Not only did the Aztecs lose to a team that won just one game in 2021, its fans were left to bake in the sun without proper plans for shade or hydration.

Weather in San Diego is considered to be amongst the nicest in the world. It rarely rains and it’s always warm. However, for (slightly more than) a few weeks out of the year, the temperature goes from toasty to scorching.

That was the case on Saturday. It did not bode well for SDSU fans, medical personnel in the stadium or the university itself, which looks very bad after the disaster that played out.

Over the course of the last two years, San Diego State has been in the process of building a brand-new football stadium that is located just off of campus. The university partnered with general contractor Clark Construction and private architecture firm Gensler and broke ground on the $310 million investment in August of 2020.

SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 03: A general view from the top of the stadium during a college football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the San Diego State Aztecs on September 03, 2022, at SnapDragon Stadium in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Snapdragon Stadium, as it is known, opened last month and held its first Aztecs football game over the weekend. Meanwhile, Southern California was amidst a significant heatwave that pushed temperatures north of 90-degrees with upwards of 70% humidity.

While that may not seem particularly hot to some (I’m looking at you, SEC fans) that is extreme heat for San Diegans.

As a result of the heatwave, San Diego State’s Snapdragon Stadium had its design flaws exposed.

Shortly after arriving to the brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium, more than 34,000 fans in attendance discovered that the stadium does not have a single shaded seat. There was nowhere in the stands to escape the sun and its wrath.

SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 3: Fans of the San Diego State Aztecs sit in the heat during their game against the Arizona Wildcats on September 3, 2022 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

“This stadium is like an open faced sandwich,” season ticket-holder Kris Golojuch told KPBS. “Literally every square inch of that stadium is exposed to direct sunlight and with the UV index we’ve had this summer, it’s just not good.”

As a result, fans began to seek shelter inside the stadium concourse and in the air-conditioned gift shop. Anywhere that might provide some relief.

Fans then started dropping like flies. All of the stadium’s medical emergency facilities were at capacity.

The San Diego Fire Department had to dispatch multiple units throughout the game to Snapdragon Stadium. They needed to treat people who were suffering from heat-related illness.

A first-hand account of the lack of shade and lack of water shows just how bad things got:


Snapdragon Stadium San Diego, California SDSU Aztecs Home Opener DISASTER CBS Sports Arizona Wildcats College Football Stadium Opening Day #snapdragon #snapdragonstadium #sdsu #aztecs #sandiegostate #cbs #sandiego #qualcomm #newstadium #problems #issues #extremeheat #heatwave

♬ Kernkraft 400 (Original Radio Edit) – Zombie Nation

The heatwave will likely cool off some by the time SDSU hosts its next home game on September 24. In addition, the Aztecs typically play night games, but Saturday’s national TV appearance caused the early kickoff.

At the very least, fans now know how to prepare and the school knows that there will be issues with day games. Perhaps they will provide some temporary tenting or something like that.

$310 million for the first game to go about as poorly as it could have. Yikes.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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